The number of Canadians visiting Florida during the winter of 2000-2001 increased 8% or 9%, according to Joe Striska, president of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.

Meanwhile, the number of Canadians visiting Arizona was “up slightly” last winter, said Matt Bloom spokesman for the Arizona Office of Tourism in Toronto.

But in California, Canadian snowbird travel last winter about equaled that of the winter of 1999-2000, said Ron Mendenwald, past president of the California Travel Park Association.

The increase in visits by Canadians to Florida and Arizona reversed the negative trend that existed during much of the 1990s.

The number of visits by Canadians during the 1990s declined because the Canadian dollar lost purchasing power in the U.S. and because the Canadian government reduced the amount of medical insurance available to its citizens while they were visiting in the U.S. That forced Canadian tourists to buy supplemental insurance which, combined with the cheaper Canadian dollar, increased the cost of visits to the U.S. by Canadians.

But Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, recently increased the amount medical coverage available for its residents while they are visiting the U.S.